Health and Safety Makes Me Mad
I’ve always had a bugbear about the UK’s addiction to ‘health and safety’. I don’t think any country in the world is so addicted to it. So engrained within the UK culture, so many people are now living in fear of the ‘what ifs’ of living. Kid’s don’t play outside in case of …. (fill in whatever you think). We worry if we lock our doors (even though we live in the middle of nowhere with virtually no chance of anything happening), we insure ourselves against insurance against insurance… This was recently highlighted by my son spending the summer in Spain. He had a cracking time, really lived for 2 months free of the H&S cant do this or that culture we have in the UK. It was highlighted by something that happened in the village (Candas, Asturias, Spain) whereby a long greasy stick was suspended from a harbour wall, and anybody mad enough to try was invited to try to get to the end and grab hold of a laurel tree twig. Yes it was a long drop from to the sea, and yes you probably whacked a body part or two as you slipped off the branch, but it was great fun, thousands turned out to watch and enjoy, and the crazy (mainly boys!) had an opportunity to prove themselves in some typically Spanish way.
When I ask myself would this happen in the UK, I’d think sadly not. Even in my village of Trowse, Norfolk, the annual firework display died a death because of safety and insurance fears. Even a bonfire had to be replaced with a projected one.
I’ve travelled quite a bit over the years, and one of the things that is wonderful about many countries like India and Mongolia, is that you take responsibility for your own safety. Within this, there’s a wonderful freedom to experience life which of course, includes taking risks.
Yet so, so many people in the UK live a life without taking risks.
I often wonder how many people experience the freedom of stepping into the unknown without the ‘what ifs’ all being answered.
This was highlighted recently in taking a washing machine apart with my son in the Hall where I am staying. I wanted to take the drum out to make a firepit of it, so we decided to get one of my guns out and shoot it first (including the glass door) to see what noises it made. Now I had no idea that the pellet could ricochet the way that it did, but it did come within a meter or so of where we were shooting from. Lesson learnt, and it did create a wonderful memory.
So what’s the point? When you are given the freedom to experiment, take risks, not only to you experience new things in life but you also learn responsibility and enjoy life rather more. If you avoid risks, don’t step out in faith, there’s so much of life you miss. Of course, the ultimate risk is that you could kill yourself, but that’s true of living as a whole.
Vespa and a 2 Year Old
Amelia and her family came to stay recently. Amelia who is only 2 and a half is one of those wonderful littluns who is an absolute delight. Her parents are an absolute delight too,
amazingly in love with each other and love their 2 children dearly. And I am sure the amount they love Amelia has given her a huge amount of confidence to step out and do new things. So I asked if she wanted to go round the grounds of the Hall on the front of the Vespa. She loved it! Not only did she take responsibility for hanging on, but she giggled with delight as we whizzed around the grounds. And rather looking all scared and freaked out, her loving parents were so excited she enjoyed herself! I was to be honest, more freaked out at how confident she was and how she wanted to go faster!
It was such a refreshing change from the majority of parents that live under the fear of what ifs. They either wrap their children up in so much cotton wool the kids end up not being able to cope with the risks of life once free from parental control, or they end up projecting their own fears and anxieties on to their children.
It’s a difficult balance as a parent isn’t it? Thank God for the faith He has given me!